Friday, May 17, 2013


Isn't she a cutie?

Another Aussie Interview
I'm happy to introduce this week's interviewee, Cally Jackson. I met Cally last year when I discover her through a new genre some authors are trying to persuade the literary world to acknowledge. The new genre is called New Adult and falls in the cusp of readers between YA and adult. Early on, I thought young adult meant just that. But it's actually categorized for readers from about 13 to 18 years old.
But enough of literary lessons. Let's get busy talking to Cally Jackson, indie author from Brisbane, AU who penned 'The Big Smoke.'

I Give You, Miss Cally Jackson!
You've done several interviews. What were 2-3 of your favorite questions you were asked? And the answers. 
I’ve enjoyed answering a wide variety of questions. Here are some of my favourites. 

Tell me, how did you develop such honest, flawed, and true characters? Any tips for writers?

Firstly, thank you! I’m thrilled to hear you connected with my characters. I really wanted to develop characters that were three-dimensional and that people could relate to. My first draft didn’t achieve this, as I learnt when I had the manuscript professionally appraised. When I received that feedback, it was a blow, but it was feedback I needed to hear to push deeper and really bring my main characters, Ceara and Seb, to life.

The key for me was getting to know Ceara and Seb (and the supporting characters) on a deep level – what were their biggest fears? Their biggest dreams? What memories tortured them? How did they see themselves and how did that compare to how others saw them? Once I knew this detail, I had to work out how to show it through their narration and the story line, so that it unfolded organically rather than feeling staged.

In terms of tips for writers, I’d encourage them to consider how they can show the varying dimensions of their characters. We all have many layers and the best characters are as complicated and multi-faceted as we are. 

What’s been most challenging about writing? 
Not giving up. I have a very clear memory of a time a few years ago when I was very early on in my rewrite of The Big Smoke. It seemed like I would never reach the end and I was seriously questioning whether it was all worth it. My inner critic had found a microphone and it was practically impossible to drown her out. I wrote a blog post about this experience – the weight of great expectation – which I read aloud at my book launch (to prove it’s possible to recover from those awful moments and achieve your goals). 

I totally get that. I actually wrote a conversation between me and my defeatist self. 
I re-read it when I get frustrated. So, do you have a favorite character or a favorite 

This is a tricky one because I have a lot of favourites. As much as I love my main female 
character, Ceara,she’s a little too much like me (worries way too much), so I think my main 
male character, Seb, wins  out. He’s a bit hopeless at times but his heart’s in the right place, 
and he’s quite funny. I laugh at all his  jokes – we must have the same sense of humour. ;-)

In terms of favourite scenes, it would be a tie between the date that goes horribly wrong for 
Ceara  (not a nice scene by any stretch of the imagination but I’m proud of the writing) and the 
scene where  Seb returns home after he learns ‘the truth’. I can’t say any more than that 
because I’ll give too much away! 

I agree with you. It’s not always the main character we writers fall in love with. 
What advice would you give to indie authors getting ready to publish? 

I have three main pieces of advice: 
     * Be aware that you will need to commit a great deal of time to the process to do it
 justice. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my self-publishing journey, but it has consumed a LOT
 of my time and energy. You need to be prepared to not only be the author, but the
 typesetter, the proof checker, the accountant, the distributor, the publicist… and the
 list goes on. 
     ** Engage professionals to help you along the way. A lot of self-published books have 
great potential but are let down by poor editing or an unprofessional cover – or both. To give
 your book the best chance of success, it’s worth paying for these two services. If you try to 
cut corners in these areas, it will show. If you’re not confident in other areas (such as
 typesetting etc), consider getting help for them as well. 
     *** Enjoy the journey! Try to take a step back every once in a while and look at 
what you’ve accomplished. Self publishing is hard work but if you commit to doing it 
properly, it’s very rewarding.
Best of luck! :-)  

I couldn’t agree more. What were your favorite books/authors as a child? 

I had a LOT of favourite books. I loved most of Roald Dahl’s books (particularly 
The Witches,the Twits and Matilda. Not so fussed on James and the Giant Peach), 
and I also enjoyed Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven series. The Never-Ending 
Story was another favourite, and I’m sorry to say, I also had a soft spot for The 
Babysitters Club. 

We won’t hold that against you. Tell us who your top 5 favorite 'best-selling' 
authors are now? 

I have lots of favourite authors, so here are five of them in no particular order: 
AudreyNiffernegger, Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Oliver, J K Rowling and John Marsden.  

Rowling is amazing. Just for fun I added a link to Pottermore!
Are there any indie authors/books that you would suggest? 

Apart from mine, you mean? ;-) I really enjoyed Tamara Webber’s Easy, which I reviewed recently. I think it’s been traditionally published now but it was originally self published.

I also really like Rachel Morgan’s Creepy Hollow series, and I’ve been hearing some buzz about another self-published book called Dream Weaver. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I haven’t read it yet but it’s at the top of my to-read list! 

I’m excited to hear what you think. If you could be any character in any book, who would you be? And why? 

This is an awesome question. It needs some serious thought…
Okay, I’ll choose a male character because it would be interesting to see what it’s like to be a boy. I’d also like to have some magical powers. Hmm…
Harry Potter becomes the obvious choice, but he’s got Voldemort on his back all the time, so I’ll go for Dean Thomas. He’s a wizard, he’s on the ‘good’ side, he’s attractive, and he plays Quidditch – I think that would be pretty fun to experience! 
More about The Big Smoke
Beautiful cover art!
Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

You can purchase a copy of The Big Smoke: 
In paperback format: 
Cally's buy page (Australia and New Zealand)
or Amazon (rest of the world) 

In e-book format: 
Smashwords (preferred digital supplier) 
iBooks, KoboDiesel and other e-stores. 

Cally, how can people get in touch with you?
Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon 

Cally Jackson, thank you for visiting with us today! Best of luck with The Big Smoke. Happy writing!

And as always,
Dare to Dream!

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